The A-Z of Me Series | Anxiety

September 19, 2013

Hello ♥ 

Welcome to the A-Z of Me also known as my new Thursday posts! When summer began it's descent into autumn I found myself finding less and less things to rave about in my What I'm Loving This Week and quickly became bored of writing them. To be honest, if I wasn't enjoying writing them I can't imagine what it must have been like to read them. Anyway, after writing 50 Facts About Me I thought it might be good to start a series all about me so here it goes! 

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A is for Anxiety

A nice light topic to start the series huh?

Firstly I would like to point out to anyone reading this that I have never been formally diagnosed with any kind of anxiety disorder. I have never been to a doctor specifically for the anxious feelings, nervousness and panic attacks I have. I hope that this doesn't make you think that writing this post on anxiety is all just for show. I am not writing this because there seems to be a growing trend of people claiming to have anxiety issues and I want to be in on it. This is quite a personal topic for me and not something I often speak openly about. I just want to share my experiences as a kind of therapy, to get it all off my chest so to speak.

 I never really accepted the anxiety I felt as being something medical until the beginning of this year. This might sound crazy to you. How could I have not known that I had something wrong with me? Did I think it was normal to feel that way day in, day out? Of course I didn't. To be honest, I just thought I was overreacting to silly things and being a bit odd. No one else I knew felt this way. It had to just be me.

I don't really know where it all began for me because I don't really remember a time where I wasn't always a little on edge. In primary school I was always very shy and nervous and I think it just kind of grew from there. I was in my first year of high school, aged twelve, when it started to take a more physical manifestation.

Suddenly, my feelings of anxiousness were accompanied by headaches, migraines and nausea. I would beg my parents to let me stay home from school about once every two weeks because I felt physically sick. I would become so overwhelmed at the prospect of sitting in school surrounded by people all the time that I would find myself crying uncontrollably for no obvious reason. Often I couldn't explain why I felt so terrified. I didn't exactly enjoy high school but I wasn't bullied (except from the occasional wise ass boy being unnecessarily mean) and I had pretty good grades. I had a good group of friends and the teachers didn't bother me. Nevertheless when my alarm went off in the morning, I was greeted with an impending sense of doom.

I remember one of my friends telling me that she was jealous of how often my parents let me stay at home. (I would like to point out that this was not as often as I pleaded with them but still more than the average student). I felt like she thought that it was all an act to get out of going to school and that I was lying to my parents. I never replied. I didn't try to explain myself but I do remember thinking that if she felt the way I did every morning, she wouldn't be so pleased about it.

My parents did make me see my GP but, because I had come to only really accept the physical manifestations of the anxiety I was feeling, we never really got to the root of the problem. I had countless appointments and blood taken with nothing helping. I was prescribed a range of things for the migraines and headaches as well as for the nausea. Yet with the problems running deeper than that, they could only help so much.

My social life also suffered as it took a huge amount of courage, and a lot of planning in advance, before I felt comfortable to go out. I would often lie to my friends and say my parents wouldn't let me go somewhere or that they needed me to babysit my younger sisters. In fact, I often wouldn't tell my parents of being invited into town with friends or to a friend's house to watch a movie. I did my best to attend birthday parties and get-togethers but this was only really possible thanks to the fact that they were often planned weeks in advance.

I began suffering from panic attacks from the age of fourteen. My heart would race, I'd feel light headed and have an overwhelming urge to cry. At first I didn't know why I felt this way or what it was and, again, no one really understood. I suffered these worst between the ages of sixteen and eighteen. I would have panic attacks before going to functions with my other half's family and pull out of going last minute. This made me feel even worse as I felt like a failure and a complete let down. Other people didn't understand what I was feeling and someone very close to me actually called me downright "weird" because of my inability to attend these things which was hurtful. She didn't understand what I was going through. How could she when I didn't either? In fact, she still doesn't quite understand. My shyness and preference of observing conversations still baffles her.

For half of my life I have lived with the swings and roundabouts of anxiety and panic attacks. Some times I can go months without suffering one panic attack and then I can spend the next few months feeling anxious day after day, like just now.  For me, it is brought on by uncomfortable situations, large groups, unknown people, unknown places, stress and thinking of the future. It can be pretty hard to avoid these things and so it is just something I have to cope with myself.

I wish I had recognised this for what it is back when I was twelve. Maybe then I could have avoided years of uncontrollable crying and worry. When I said to my other half recently that I probably suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder but I've only accepted that now, he told me "I always thought that you did." Why he didn't tell me this eight years ago is beyond me. Maybe because I wasn't as forthcoming about it.  If I could give anyone feeling this way one piece of advice it would be to talk to someone. I wish I had.

Until next time!



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2 comments :

  1. You did amazing talking about it all so openly in this post! I only recently acknowledged my anxiety issues out loud to my other half this year too and had a very similar reaction from him. I had all the blood tests too and ECG's at my worst time about 2 years ago... nothing was ever mentioned about anxiety being the cause, but I know myself that's what it was as all the physical symptoms go away when I'm not at all anxious! Aside from the other half and a couple of "blogging friends" I haven't opened up to anyone else! Even though I'm not talking to "professionals" it really helps talking to someone close to you, even if they don't fully understand. And knowing other people are in the same boat through blogs etc. just makes it a bit easier to accept :) (sorry for the long comment!) x

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  2. Thank you so much, Ria. It was quite a scary post to write but I thought that it should be said. I agree that it's important to talk to someone and that it doesn't even have to be professionals. My other half can recognise when I'm having a bad day with anxiety or panic attacks and more often than not he can make me feel even just a little better.

    Debi x

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